But He Treats Me with Disrespect!
One of my sons had become extremely bossy of late, demanding I take him here and there, and one day, when we pulled into the driveway, he commanded, “Be ready in ten minutes, and I’m hungry, make me a sandwich!”
Hmm…I wondered if aliens had abducted him and replaced his brain with someone else’s. We don’t treat each other like that here.
Thank you, Father, for this opportunity.
Knowing that teenagers are frequently in phases of hormonal flux, I chose to not take his behavior personally.
I sensed the Lord’s prompting for a teachable moment, and instead of carrying out his request, I went upstairs, lay down on my bed, and started reading a magazine.
He burst into my room, “We have to leave! We’re going to be late!!! What are you doing? Where’s my sandwich?!”
Oh my. Father, help me be your love to this man/boy.
It was time to push the “reset” button.
“Baby, I love it that you have all these friends and fun things to do. I usually like to take you the places you need to go, and I love to see you spend time with your peeps. I have noticed that you have been increasingly bossy the last few weeks, and though I’ve talked to you about this a few times, you haven’t changed your behavior. As a result, I’m not going to make you a sandwich, nor am I going to drive you over to your friend’s house. You can go, but I won’t be the one getting you there. If you want to walk, that’s fine.”
His mouth fell open, eyes wide. “But…”
Then I got up and left my room, and went out the front door to get the mail.
(Because men need space to “chew” on information… to process.)
When I came back in, he was waiting for me. “You’re right, mom. I’ve been really rude and bossy. I’m sorry. I haven’t been respectful and you don’t deserve to be treated like that. It must make you feel like I take you for granted. I really appreciate your driving me around and stuff. Will you forgive me?”
“Of course, I forgive you. Thank you for understanding how I feel. I do feel taken for granted. I don’t want to feel that way in our relationship, and your apology and how you treat me in the future will impact that. Thank you,” I replied.
“So can we go?” he asked.
“Honey, you can go, but I’m not going to drive you over there. Let’s see how things go and maybe tomorrow or the next day I’ll feel like driving you around again,” I said.
“But you forgave me. I’m confused,” he said.
“I do forgive you – but there are consequences,” I said. “I do love you, too, you know.”
He managed to talk his friend’s mom into coming to get him, and when he returned, he was a kinder, more respectful, gentler young man.
His friend’s mom made a decision to come get him, and that decision was hers to make. I chose not to worry about the imposition. I have also driven my sons friends around, so I understand these things.
What is interesting is that there is a line we walk daily as we interact with this world.
The line is between respecting the temple of the Holy Spirit (ourselves) and serving other people. Dare you to develop your relationship with God such that you know what it looks like, and you know how to handle the situations that present themselves to you daily. If you do this you’ll be wise to the enemy’s lies that you are a doormat when you serve or domineering when you gently, respectfully help others treat you with dignity.
Dare you to understand that contrary to much of the teaching out there in Christiandom, this applies in marriage and is not contrary to the concepts of submission and respect. I know someone is going to take me to task on this one, but I dare you to show me the scriptures that say otherwise. Prove to me that women are second class citizens compared to men. That notion is rubbish.
Double dog dare you to ask God to teach you how this plays out in your own life…
Glad you are on the journey with us! It’s more cozy with you here.
Love to you,
What about you? What have you been taught? Do you help others respect you? Does it influence how you serve? How do you struggle with “the line?”
Praise The Lord! My husband has dropped his ultimatum that I allow Kendra to visit our home more. He says that he has heard what I had to say about the matter and is dropping the matter! Thanks to those who prayed for us!
Oh amen. 🙂 This is SUCH good news! 🙂 Keep moving forward, beautiful! Many were praying for this today! 🙂
Love to you!
Wise Mama. Used a version of this over the weekend – worked so well! Glad and honoured for your words my dear.
My husband struggles with showing respect to me, but I’ve resolved to show him respect unconditionally (and it does get hard). The other day he went on a golf outing with work which started at 11:30am. His boss is a woman, who has no respect for other woman and thus acts inappropriate around men (past issues here with how I felt about her) – she went as well. By 7pm I was overcome with feelings of despair and hurt and all sorts of yuck. I hurriedly tucked my son into bed, praying the entire time that I could keep my emotions to myself and not lash out at him. At 7:30 I texted my husband asking what hole he was on, and he replied back that they were eating dinner (provided) and just socializing. He then said he’d be leaving in about a half hour and asked if that was ok. I replied ‘ok’ and he asked what that ok meant (aka was I upset). I responded that I was overcome with feelings of despair (at this point I was in tears it was so powerful) but that I needed to relax and read (my husband is not a believer; I meant I was going to read my Bible) and he responded back that he’d give me a back rub after he got home so I said that would be wonderful.
Now the feelings of despair, I know, are not from God. Satan clearly has a stronghold in me over these feelings I have (disgust; worry) regarding this woman. I sat, tears streaming down my face asking the Lord to calm me down, comfort me as I know these feelings are not real and not from God. I was lead to read Ephesians from my Bible – which I read out loud to myself – and by the time I was done reading it my heart was comforted and I was at peace.
My hubby gets home at 9:30, clearly had a LOT to drink. He recites his day (with a lot of explicit language), starts insulting our neighbor, and finally begins to insult and put me down. This whole time I’m completely calm and respectfully disagreeing on some points (and he did reverse his opinion on the neighbor, they aren’t idiots because they do different things than us or hold different views). But when he insulted me, I wasn’t sure what to do. So I calmly got up, went upstairs and drew a bath. This made my husband mad so I found him on the couch when I got done. Prior to Respect Dare, I would have left him there… so we sit and talk for a few minutes and I politely remind him that he said he’d give me a back rub and asked if he’d prefer to give it to me on the couch (where he was) or in bed, he proceeds to get off the couch. Now, the back rub was not good.. 🙂 He was mad. But it’s certainly hard to stay mad when you are doing something loving and that diffused the situation. I am absolutely amazed at what my changed behavior, how that affects how my husband responds. We’ve been together for 12 years and in the past I’ve always complained about his lack of affection or affirmation… but lately, after giving him the *one* thing he wants every day .. yes every day… he’s a new man. My heart swells with the love and appreciation I have for him.
God bless you Nina!
You are an inspiration! A true, Godly, inspiration. I would love to have you guest post for us sometime. You have moved me deeply. Bless you, dear sister.
Thanks Jennifer, my journey has really just begun. I’ve spent many years damaging our relationship, it’s a long hard walk to repair the hurt within my husbands heart. But the last week has been very encouraging for me, not only with his responses, but with my own.
I would love to hear more about your testimony and would love to welcome you as a guest writer. If interested, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s not your actions so much as your heart is obvious. Women like you are a rarity.
WELL DONE! 🙂 Love what God is doing in your life – and thankful to be a small part of it. 😉 Congratulations – you have leaned on the Lord, listened to His Word, and been blessed and encouraged as a result. God is good, He has His timing, and it takes a truly mature woman to wait for it. I think you are awesome. Thank you so much for posting here today! 🙂
Love to you,
In July, my second husband and I will celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary. We both lost our first spouses in 2001. I was left to care for my then teenaged son, alone; and, my current husband cared for his then teenaged daughter himself.
After our marriage, my relationship with my step-daughter went from bad to worse. She resented me because she believed that I was taking her dad away from her. My relationship with her continued to crumble after I made a few changes to my new home, that she did not like.
One warm summer’s day, I asked the young woman to change her clothes in her room, rather my study. Immediately, and unexpectedly, she flew into a rage that escalated into name calling and door slamming, as she threatened to kill me.
My husband and I remained behind the locked door of our bedroom during her tirade.
Afterward, I insisted that my husband change the locks of our home and not allow my step daughter to return to our home until she expressed some remorse for what she’d done.
Now, my husband wants me to welcome his adult daughter, back into our home, with open arms, though she’s never apologized for her behavior, or otherwise expressed remorse. My husband insists that if I do not welcome my step daughter back into our home, he will leave me.
Am I being unreasonable by insisting that the young woman demonstrate a change of heart for her actions before being welcomed back into our home?
Roxanne – I also have a step-daughter that is resentful and expresses harsh feelings toward me (though she is still young). I am praying for you today to hear from God and the direction that He would want you to take with this situation. I am also praying for your husband and his daughter, for someone to speak truth and love into their lives through this situation (be prepared, that person could be you!).
Karen, I’m so sorry you are going through this. It sounds like a very painful ordeal for all of you. A Very Tough situation. I want to encourage you to ask God how you and your husband can work this out together, on the same team. This woman is an adult, so you can work your relationship with her, and I’d encourage you to do so, as God wants all of us to be reconciled. Submission shows up at times like these, and I would encourage you to do everything that you can, to live at peace with your step daughter and your husband. I know this is hard work, but God has a plan here, and He may fully intend to use you to carry it out. As you cry and wrestle your way through this, focus on what Jesus did for us all. He did this for your step daughter and husband, too. Praying for you, lovely. This is a HARD Eucharisteo, a hard path to walk, a humble path, but one worth walking, as there is grace, peace, and His glory on the other side. Keep us posted.
Nina, I was prompted to share my situation with you after reading today’s on your blog. You insisted that your son be more respectful. Shouldn’t I insist that my step daughter be more respectful. If she had threatened to take the life of another person, she would have undoubtedly faced the consequences of a restraining order.
The covenant of marriage is to be cherished above every other human relationship in the Kingdom of God. The Lord does not tell the husband to cleave to his daughter, his other children, or his ministry. The man is to cleave to his wife.
🙂 Roxanne, I’m so sorry you are in the middle of this 🙁 .
Standing on the outside of your situation, like in most disagreements, both of you have opportunities to obey God. And it seems as well, that this child, who is now an adult, is still hurting.
In an ideal world, the tough blending would have had the aid of counselor to help deal with her deep pain and resentment. It’s not been healed, and so she feels justified in her situation. Her father empathizes. Yes, he is wrong to put an ultimatum here, if he is indeed putting his relationship with her over you, and I might be wrong here, but it seems that there are several things going on – you and she have a relationship that needs healing, she may or may not be dangerous (I wasn’t there, but I do know teens often say things they don’t mean in the middle of hormonal rages) and there are probably things you and her dad can do to help facilitate healing for all of you with the help of a counselor. If you leave him over this, check 1 Cor 7:11, as there is purpose there. I am praying that reconciliation is facilitated, which may require help. Be careful about drawing hard lines in the sand as ultimatums rarely make people want to do what you suggest, but rather cause deeper resentment and the opposite behavior. Hang in there, beautiful. These are the days when the journey path is paved with tears.
Love to you,
Roxanne – this is a challenging situation. I, too, have a step-daughter whom I wanted to love and embrace but ultimately she choose another path where she attempted threats, extortion and emotional blackmail on her dad, my husband. He wanted a relationship, and I agreed, but with boundaries for all of us. If we met in public, then everyone was on their best behaviour. If she came to our home, then it was our rules. And she would respect them as anyone else would who comes to visit. We both spoke to her with love and respect, and with a heart for reconciliation. She chose to not respect her Dad, and chose instead to not have the priviledge of being an active part of our family. We don’t see her little boy. We don’t hear from her. She knows the door is open, she just has to knock with respect. We have told her she is welcome to be a part of our family. She just has to respect our rules. One of which is to respect our faith. The others are to be kind. To have good manners. To ask for what you need, not demand what you want. She is an adult, and I pray for her daily even though she may never realize it this side of heaven. I wanted her as part of our family, I was not willing to sacrifice our family because she felt entitled to something. Christians can have boundaries. We can show God’s love. We can put our husband first, and then his child next. Especially an adult child. And to answer your question – should she apologize? I would see how she is when she comes around – if she has had a change of heart, then praise her for it. Laugh and say, “Good thing we got that teenager stuff out of the way and we can be friends as women.” Add Christian women if she is a believer. If she is not, this is your chance to show her grace, reconciliation and mature faith which will uplift your husband and strengthen your marriage. If she does not change, you could take her aside, and say woman to woman: this is how things are in my house. When I come to yours you can tell me your rules. Be loving, be firm and be prayerful. God is moving.
I so appreciate your comments. It’s easier to relate when you’ve gone through a similar situation. My step daughter was not a teen when the unfortunate situation happened. She was a young adult woman (in her early twenties).
I’m prayerfully seeking reconciliation with my husband, first and foremost, with the hope that we will both approach his daughter as one, with a desire to restore relationship based upon mutually shared Christian values. Appreciate your prayers!?! Shalom!!!
Roxanne – I know we are supposed to treat our step children the same way we treat our own, but I think if we are all honest we’d admit that we don’t – especially if you struggle to even LIKE that kid. It sounds as though your relationship with this girl was never that great and now this issue has become a power struggle. I think it is less about what she SHOULD do as a good adult person and more about wanting to WIN.
Let me say this before I continue – I have SO been there!!! It’s hard to let go when you KNOW you are right and letting them “get away with it” feels so wrong. You are afraid that if you do -it will just get worse or give some sense of victory to the other person. Yes your step daughter SHOULD apologize. Yes your husband SHOULD support you in this.
And yes, our Lord SHOULD send us all to Hell for our sins too. But He doesn’t. He forgives. He shows mercy. He shows love. Even when we don’t deserve it.
You have the opportunity to show both your husband and your step daughter that there are things far more important than being right or getting your way. You have the opportunity to show some grace and mercy of your own and to show your love to your husband (and to his daughter) by granting his request to let it go.
Put yourself in his shoes. Despite her unacceptable behavior this is his little girl. I’m sure it would be very difficult to remain upset at your son for very long – even if he did something to hurt you. It’s easy to make excuses for and to forgive our babies yet judge other people’s children harshly.
The fact that you are reading Nina’s blog tells me that you want a good marriage. I’m glad that you wrote about your struggle – we can ALL learn from other people’s problems. It will be a sacrifice to do as your husband requests but I will bet that if you do it anyway with an open heart and not resentment, you will find both relationships flourish.
I pray for you hon! Setting aside and pride and indignation is never easy. I know this from experience. Good luck and pray for lots of help from above!!
Thank you for your comments. Nina’s blog post addressed her insistence that her son treat her with respect. My situation is not that different, except we’re talking about a very troubled young woman who threatened to kill me repeatedly during her tirade. I don’t want to wind up a statistic while my husband seeks his daughter’s approval over my safety and peace of mind!
Roxanne – We don’t want you to wind up a statistic, either. We want you to be safe and are praying for an outcome that is win/win/win.
There are some differences in our situations, too – I might be wrong here, but it is nearly impossible to force someone to respect you – and I didn’t insist on respect from my son, either. I chose to not serve someone who, while technically a man, is still dependant upon me and under my authority. I felt led. I also have a strong relationship with him, one built on trust and mutual respect – yes, even mutual respect, as a fellow believer and my brother in Christ. We have a very open relationship and can speak into each other’s lives honestly when we hurt each other, which happens. I am developing these same relationships with my daughter, and have this with my other son, too. It’s taken years and is still in process. And you have not had that opportunity with this girl.
I have had circumstances with adults that I have served anyway, and others whom I have not, because of their behavior. There is no one size fits all… God knows the situations best, so regardless of what you hear here from anyone, myself included, you need to follow God’s advice. It’s easy for those of us outside the situation to speak into it – we don’t have to endure. You do. Your husband does. And I think things are different when you are dealing with adults – when my son leaves for college next year, he knows he’s welcome to live at home, and because we are footing the bill, we have a few (not many) rules. If he decides he can’t deal with them, he can do whatever on his own dime, and we’re all cool with that.
Yes, she should apologize. Yes, your covenant is with your husband and not her. Yes, your husband should be stepping forward. Unfortunately, you married a sinner and so did he.
I want to encourage you two to get some outside help resolving this with each other first, and then with her. And these things take time, so we’ll just keep praying in the meantime. Keep us posted.
Love to you,
This is a tough situation. Tough indeed. All I can say is that God’s word calls forgiveness regardless of expressions of remorse. There have been harmful things done in my marriage that my husband never apologized for but God called me to forgive. Jesus forgave us when we were still sinners. How often do we sin against him without remorse?
This is definitely a battle that I believe your husband’s authority takes precedence over your desire to force an apology. He followed your lead in changing of the locks and allowing you to distance yourselves. Now, it is important to respect his request. God will reward your obedience, period. God may very well be calling your husband to initiate this because it might be necessary for your stepdaughter to come to remorse. It doesn’t always have to make sense or feel right to be right. Praying for you
I love the way you handled your son. It’s important that mom’s teach their sons how to value other people. I will take some time to mull this over where it applies to marriage. I ran the, “But he doesn’t respect me!” by my best friend who is a counselor and her response was, “Show me where in the bible it says men are to respect their wives.” It’s not there.
We can argue that it’s possible that it’s a component of love which I agree. However, I think it’s vital to place their consequences in the hands of the authority they answer to which is God. In no way do our men answer to us….otherwise it would be mutual submission. Comparing how we’d discipline our kids with our husbands is a different tone for TRD mindset. While we shouldn’t let the world walk all over us and setting healthy boundaries is important, I think there does need to be a different mindset when handling our husbands.
My husband’s can be grouchy and I would love to say that I always handle it well. I don’t. But I want to. I want to submit his mishandling of me to the Father and be unoffendable where he us concerned. This isn’t because I want him to mistreat me. It’s because I want to have that much trust and faith in God. I will tell him when he’s hurting my feelings. I will express when I think he’s being a bully, grouchy, and critical. But, I think the moment I start treating him like anyone else or worse, giving him the same discipline I would a child, my submission and obedience no longer is unconditional.
My first thoughts. I am going to pray and think over it.
Agreed – we are NOT our husband’s mother – and if you’ve been here for a while, you know that about me. 🙂 Your counselor friend missed 1 Peter 3:7, where God tells husbands to respect their wives as the weaker vessel, or He is not even interested in their prayers. For some reason, this blog posted twice, and I’m not sure how it happened, but on Friday, someone asked me what I would do if my husband had responded that way. Here’s what I said:
Honestly, with my husband, if he had acted like this, it would not have been something going on for a while. So, if he had said it, (if God directed me to) I would have walked over to him, put my hand lovingly on his bicep, and with a smile, sweetly said, “It’s not like you to be harsh with me – is everything okay?” At which point he would have said, “Oh, yeah, sorry, I think my blood sugar is low.” And I would have smiled again, kissed him, and said, “Ah. Now I see. Of course I’ll make you a little something to eat.” It is hard to become a man with a bossy habit if his wife gives him a fine reputation to live up to, and “calls him out” when a nasty behavior shows up.
Sometimes we ignore an insult, but too much of that leads others to habits that are unhealthy. Too much pointing out of mistakes makes others feel like failures – so knowing God is the most important thing. If a woman is married to a man with a habit of being harsh, doing the above here, STILL can impact him – we still give him a fine reputation to live up to and gently confront. If that doesn’t work, Matthew 18 if God leads. Or we suffer with him the way he is, if God leads. I don’t pretend to know what my husband needs from me at any given moment, but my God does, and I trust Him and follow His direction, if that makes sense.
Nina Roesner | May 3, 2013 at 12:14 pm | Reply | Edit
And for what it is worth, I don’t view my role as “teacher” with adults, but rather, “helper” – particularly with my husband. He helps me with some things, I help him. Not better than, just different.
And the link: http://ninaroesner.com/2013/05/03/when-treated-with-disrespect/
Hope that makes sense!
Love to you,
Also, Dr. Kevin Leman, in “Have a New Husband by Friday” specifically tells wives whose husbands have been harsh, “I don’t feel like being intimate with you because of how you treated me this afternoon,” when approached for intimacy. I noticed that he doesn’t specifically say to withhold, as that would be unbiblical, but he does encourage wives to not allow our men to think they can do whatever they want to us and we’ll just keep rewarding them. Something else to chew on, I suppose. 🙂
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